Roarke Knapp is making a name for himself at 154 pounds.

Knapp stopped Przemyslaw Zysk of Poland in the fifth round Saturday night at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, South Africa. Knapp, who resides in the nearby Johannesburg suburb of Edenvale, improved to 17-1-1, 12 knockouts.

From the opening bell, Knapp connected with several left hooks to the body behind a consistent jab. Knapp utilized superior hand speed to mix landing right crosses and left hooks, one that shook the taller Zysk about a minute left in the first round.

Knapp utilized lateral movement to throw two-punch combinations that connected to Zysk’s head and body. To his credit, Zysk did well in round four, his best round, initiating exchanges and putting Knapp on the defensive against the ropes.

Midway through the fifth round, a combination from Knapp staggered Zysk. Moments later, a barrage of punches dropped Zysk to the canvas. Zysk did beat the count, and was fighting back while against the ropes, but a right-left combination to the head prompted referee Thabo Shampool to stop the fight at 2:45.

“It’s so sweet to have a victory like that, a victory all around is great, but to do it in fashion like in stopping (Zysk) in front of all these amazing people, it’s a true testament to what all the hard work is about,” said Knapp after the fight. “Like I’ve said, the fight is a celebration of all the hard work and I felt that was a good celebration.

“I’m trying to run with this as far and as hard as I can.”

The 25-year-old previously fought on March 18, defeating Ahmed El Mousaoui by unanimous decision. On December 10, Knapp decisioned former world lightweight contender Dante Jardon over 10 rounds.

Knapp, who is promoted by Rodney Berman and managed by Marco Luis, has won his last eight bouts since losing by knockout to Brandon Thysse in November 2019. Knapp would avenge the loss on June 11 of last year, winning by split decision.

Zysk falls to 18-2, 6 KOs. The 31-year-old had not fought since June 25 of last year, losing by unanimous decision to Sam Eggington. 

In the co-feature, Ricardo Malajika of Johannesburg defeated Kevin Luis Munoz by unanimous decision. Scores were 120-108, 117-111, and 118-110 for Malajika, who improved to 12-2, 9 KOs.

The 25-year-old Malajika won the IBO world title belt at 115 pounds. Malajika has now won his last four fights since a decision loss to Sikho Nqothole on April 9 of last year.

Junior middleweight Shervantaigh Koopman (12-0, 9 KOs) of Pretoria remained unbeaten, winning by knockout over Brandon Thysse after the ninth round. 

It was an all action fight between the two. Both did well on the inside, standing and trading with excellent two and three-punch combinations. 

Koopman asserted himself in rounds eight and nine, battering and hurting in the process. Thysse’s corner told referee Thabo Spampool Thysse would not come out for round 10, saving their fighter from further punishment.

Thysse, who resides in Germiston, falls to 15-4-1, 12 KOs.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing